Semester at SAIC

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All Study Abroad programs (exchange programs and study trips) have been suspended through spring 2022. SAIC continues to monitor the developments surrounding the virus, related treatment and vaccine development and will resume programs when it is safe to do so. SAIC will announce in January if programs will resume for summer and fall 2022..

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) welcomes international exchange and Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) exchange students to study in Chicago for one semester. Interested students should consult with the exchange advisor at their home school to confirm eligibility.

How to Apply (Once programs resume - currently suspended through spring 2022)

To apply for international exchange you will need to submit the following:

  • Exchange Student Application [fillable PDF—please download to edit]
  • Portfolio and Portfolio Inventory
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Academic Transcript
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation from faculty
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport

Applications must be sent through your home exchange coordinator via email to OR via postal mail to the following address:

Study Abroad
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
36 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 1203
Chicago, IL 60603 USA

Application deadlines are April 1 for fall semester (late August to mid December) and October 15 for spring semester (late January to mid May).  The application review process is typically completed by the end of April for fall applicants and mid November for spring applicants. Decisions are communicated to advisor and student by email. 

To apply for AICAD exchange you will need to submit the following: 

 Application deadlines are March 15 for fall semester and October 1 for spring semester. Decisions are communicated to advisor and student by email. 

After Acceptance

If you are admitted as an international exchange or mobility student, your admission email will contain specific details and forms regarding important next steps. That said, you may have some questions regarding some of the common topics below.


Visiting exchange and mobility students can take courses across SAIC's many departments. See a list of current course offerings. Exchange students must take at least 12 SAIC credits, typically four classes, each semester. While SAIC courses will offer you a range of options to suit your goals, we cannot guarantee in advance that you will be able to take particular classes. Incoming students will receive more information on course registration after admission. Official transcripts will be sent to your home school after completion of the exchange semester.

Housing and Transportation

Housing and transportation arrangements are the responsibility of the incoming student. While SAIC does have residence halls, these rooms are typically booked up by full-time students and not available for exchange or mobility students. For advice on finding off-campus housing, please visit Housing and Residence Life.

Immigration Matters

Incoming exchange and mobility students holding citizenship outside the United States attend SAIC on a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. To obtain this visa, students must first request a certificate of eligibility (form DS-2019) from SAIC Study Abroad. You will receive details on the DS-2019 application process after acceptance.

With a DS-2019 in hand, students begin the visa application process. The first step is to pay a U.S. government fee called the SEVIS fee, and receive a receipt. Payment may be made online. After paying the SEVIS fee, students can make a visa appointment at their nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Information about application materials, wait times for scheduling an interview, and associated application fees can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs.


SAIC Study Abroad hosts an orientation program for incoming exchange and mobility students. The orientation program is typically one day and is held shortly before the start of the fall and spring semesters. Admitted students will be sent orientation details, including date and time, in their acceptance materials. Since attendance at orientation is mandatory, incoming students are asked to plan their travel accordingly.